Do Your Daily Activities Contribute to the Plan for Your Life?

Without a plan, life just sort of happens to you. But with a plan, you’ll make sure your daily activities support what you want to create next week, next month, next year…until, at the end of your days, your activities have contributed to creating and living a successful life. Your plans should be purposeful, so your life moves in the direction you desire, based on your ideal vision for yourself. These tips can help you get there.

1. Have a personal mission statement for your life. You need an essential, written document that helps you make decisions about the way you spend your time and evaluate your choices. This is who you are, and what you’re all about.

2. Maintain a list of your life’s goals and dreams. Take each dream and phrase it in the form of an objective statement — and then make plans for its accomplishment, sooner rather than later.

3. Try to gain flexibility at work. Determine how the business of life and the game of work are going to fit together. Strive to create a lifestyle that’s flexible, one in which your personal life works with your job and your job works with your life.

4. Keep effective to-do lists. Set everything down on paper (or on your computer screen) so things don’t slip through the cracks.

5. Break larger projects into smaller ones. Big projects tend to get thrown over in favor of the little ones that are quickly done. To avoid leaving something on your list for months, break it into single steps that are easily accomplished.

6. Prepare for the next day the night before. It’s easier to put together a plan early on and then execute it when the time comes, rather than create it from scratch right when you need it.

7. Plan for chaotic transitional periods during the day. Expect transitional times (such as from workday to evening) to take a little more effort than you expect. You can control the confusion, however, if you have a checklist to follow.

8. Prevent crises by preparing well in advance. You can’t plan for everything, but there’s a difference between a true emergency and a "crisis" created because you didn’t do something before it was due. You’ll be amazed at the level of calm you experience when you get things done before you need them.

9. Embrace flexibility and weather change. Things will change — get used to it. There’s no going back to the "good old days." In a storm, it’s the trees than can bend who survive; the stiff ones break. Whatever you face, this too shall pass.

10. Continuously work to improve your efficiency and effectiveness. Don’t expect to regain control of your time all at once! It takes effort and practice to get it right. The secret is to take it inch by inch, step by step. 

The lesson here is to approach your life with a sense of structure. While you’ll never be able to plan for everything, you should have systems on hand to help you create order from chaos when it occurs. You should also have a clear plan for your life’s goals and dreams, so you’ll be able to work toward them and accomplish them sooner.  When you plan, you wake up each day with your marching orders. All you have to do is march!

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, professional speaker, and author who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training company in Denver, Colorado, that caters to high-stress industries. Laura’s newest productivity book, The Exhaustion Cure (Broadway Books), hits bookstores in May 2008.  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and MolsonCoors.  Contact her at



  1. How true. While I’ve been a student of time management for decades, I recently discovered GTD. I know, where have I been the last five years. Well, better late than never. I wrote about my recent experience with GTD and a web app that allows me to keep the system with me wherever I go in a recent blog post at Perhaps this will help some of your readers too.